CHRIST, THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL Lesson 9 for May 31, 2014
THE LAW IN THE GOSPEL What is the function of the law in our salvation? “Now, while we point the sinner to Jesus Christ as the one who can take away sin, we must explain to him what sin is, and show him the necessity of being saved from his sins, not in them. He must be made to feel that he must cease to transgress the law of God, which is to cease to sin. Paul makes the inquiry many years after the death of Christ, “Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Thus saying, Paul exalts the moral law. When this law is practically carried out in every-day life, it is found indeed to be the wisdom of God. It serves to detect sin. It discovers the defects in the moral character, and in the light of the law sin becomes exceeding sinful, revealing its true character in all its hideousness.” E.G.W. (The Review and Herald, September 27, 1881)
THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL WITHIN THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6) Israel was called to fulfill the Law. That way, other people could know the true God by their example. “God desired to make of His people Israel a praise and a glory. Every spiritual advantage was given them. God withheld from them nothing favorable to the formation of character that would make them representatives of Himself.” E.G.W. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, cp. 26, pg. 221)
THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL WITHIN THE PAGAN NATIONS “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.’” (Acts 10:34-35) “because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” (Romans 1:19) Why has every human heart a natural spiritual desire (Ecclesiastes 3:11)? Some people may have never heard about Jesus or the Gospel, but they may: • Know God through nature (Acts 17:26-27; Romans 1:20) • Do His will, according the law that was written on their hearts (Romans 2:14) • That’s the work of the Holy Spirit in all the nations. • We all are responsible for the truth we know.
THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL IN THE LIFE OF JESUS “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) The word “but” was added by some translators. John didn’t intend to insinuate that the system that was revealed to Moses was worse than the one we now know through Christ. He actually stated that Moses’ system was good, but Christ’s is better. The life of Jesus is a perfect example of obedience to the Law (Philippians 2:8; John 15:10) • Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). Those who believe the Truth receive the grace of salvation (Ephesians 2:8) and the power to keep the Law (John 14:15)
“As He went about doing good, and healing all who were afflicted by Satan, He made plain to men the character of God’s law and the nature of His service. His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God. By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us power to obey.” E.G.W. (The Desire of Ages, cp. 1, pg. 24)
THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) A person living in sin, in unrighteousness, is merely a walking corpse just waiting for the day when the last breath exits his body (Romans 7:24) The Law says, “You are dead.” The Gospel says, “You are alive in Jesus.” • Does the Gospel free us from having to fulfill the Law? “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)
“The gospel of good news was not to be interpreted as allowing men to live in continued rebellion against God by transgressing His just and holy law. Why cannot those who claim to understand the Scriptures, see that God’s requirement under grace is just the same He made in Eden—perfect obedience to His law. In the judgment, God will ask those who profess to be Christians, Why did you claim to believe in My Son, and continue to transgress My law?” E.G.W. (SDA Bible Commentary, on Romans 3:31)